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Tuesday, January 22nd, 2013

Five Books To Help Get You Organized

Becky

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Vitra Uten Silo

Alright you all, there is just a week left in January and if you’re anything like I am, you probably ran out of that New Year’s resolution organizing steam about a week ago!

Did you get anything done? A closet cleaned? A junk drawer straightened? Tell me you at least took one box to the Goodwill or labeled something? If not, don’t fret;  it’s a good time to give yourself a kick in the bum and  try again! True confessions: I currently have two toppling stacks of tax receipts and files in the middle of my floor. I was hoping looking at the mess would make me work on them but instead I’ve learned not to see them.

One way to get your organizational juices flowing is by picking up a good book. Here are five tried and true tomes that will help you get inspired:

1. Good Things for Organizing by Martha Stewart Living Magazine. Say what you want about Martha, but she didn’t get where she is today by being disorganized.

2. The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin. I loved this book because I could totally relate, skip around and read it out of order and enjoy seeing how Rubin’s life improved as she organized her life and priorities. She has another book out now called Happier At Home that I can’t recommend as I haven’t read it yet, but based on how much I enjoyed The Happiness Project, I’m betting it’s a good one!

3. Speaking of happiness and books, The Happy Home Book. Nayar digs deep into all sorts of topics, from how to live a sustainable, eco-friendly lifestyle to ancient traditions like Vastu. Though packed with all sorts of information, her writing style is accessible and makes this a very enjoyable read.

4. Peruse Real Simple 869 New Uses For Old Things before you get started. You may come across some junk that might just be useful during your cleanouts. Plus, some of the ideas might get you excited to start sorting and see if you can unearth any of the “old things” and use them in new ways.

5. If you’re finally ready to get serious, get your hands on a copy of Unclutter Your Life In One Week by Erin Rooney Doland. Be warned: The amount of things Doland expects your to accomplish in one day is exhausting. I read this book as Unclutter Your Life In One Month and tried to get a day or two’s worth of Doland’s tasks accomplished in one week. It’s a great step-by-step guide that will take you through the entire house.

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Friday, December 7th, 2012

Design Books on My Coffee Table’s List

Becky

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I love to make an Amazon wishlist before the holidays, and it’s my coffee table likes to chime in with the picks it wants to sit atop it. Right now, my Scandinavian mid-century modern slat table has been surfing the internet a lot, and I think he’s made some great picks. If you have a design nut on your list or just want soem inspiration for yourself, check out these titles.

Doris Duke’s Shangri-La. The fabulous estate of Duke’s in Honolulu was modern yet full of intricate Islamic details, rich colors and was truly a paradise. Most of us wont’ ever get to stay at a property like this, but at least we can take a virtual visit with this book.

Speaking of places I’ve never been to, I am hankering to see the amazing interiors of Havana via author Hermes Mallea’s Great Houses of Havana.

American Beauty by Thom Filicia. Here Thom takes you through a renovation process of his lake house in upstate New York. The results are stunning, and the only quibble I have with the book is that it makes me wish I were a houseguest.

Steven Gambrel: Time and Place. I’ve been ripping out Gambrel’s images from magazines for years; it would be so wonderful to have this collection of ten of his major designs all together, happily hanging out on my coffee table. Incidentally, both Thom Filicia and Steven Gambrel’s books were photographed by the talented Eric Piasecki.

Which books are you hankering for right now? Please share the titles you and/or your coffee table are hankering for in the comments section.

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Friday, November 30th, 2012

Around the Web This Week

Becky

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Hey all! Has this been the world’s longest week or what? I am so excited that it’s finally Friday! There haven’t been many minutes to spare for web surfing (do people still say that, or is it totally 1995?), but we’ve been having fun playing around with our formerly semi-dormant Pinterest account.

1. Pinteresting. If I dive into Jonathan Boivin’s pins, I may never get another post written, so I’m just dipping in a toe. If your eyes need to rest on a lot of cool stuff, check out his Architecture Board. I love a house perched in the woods, especially photographed in snow. Thanks for leading us to the Delta Shelter by Olson Kundig Architects Jonathan!

2. More ethereal architecture. Jonathan’s pins led me over to Gis Van Vaerenbergh’s site, which led me to this amazing project, Reading Between the Lines. A vernacular church reimagined in the landscape, rendered in concrete and steel:

photo by Filip Dujardin

3. Art Basel and shoes. Alright, going in a vastly different direction, I was catching up on a little Neiman Marcus blog action and came across these handpainted Charlotte Olympia Lichtenstein-inspired shoes. In honor of all the Art Basel festivities, Ms. Olympia will be in the Bal Harbour Neiman’s store December 4, hand-painting her Dolly platform pump in the shoe salon. There’s some private event buying and pre-ordering involved. While I wouldn’t dare teeter around on such a platform, I’d put them in a lucite box and admire them:

image via NMDaily

Speaking of Art Basel, I’m in love with this piece, from Spain’s galería elba benítez:

image from Art Basel via galería elba benítez

4. Christmas tunes. What else is going on this week besides trying to avoid bad holiday music? My favorite Christmas song will always be Joan Jett’s version of Little Drummer Boy, with Christmas In Hollis by Run-DMC running a close second, which can be found on the first A Very Special Christmas album with the awesome cover art by the late Keith Haring.

For an entire album that makes for some nice tree-trimming background music, you really can’t go wrong with A Charlie Brown Christmas by the Vince Guaraldi Trio.

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Friday, September 7th, 2012

Around the Web This Week

Becky

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Hey All! Where have you been whiling away your break time on the web this week? I can’t stop with the Street Art Utopia. Each one delights more than the last. However this week, this leaning tower of a concrete post made me smile the most:

I love it when a public works building gets turned into some sort of kick-butt residence, and water towers always seem to be the coolest ones; maybe because of their big old curves, uncommon in most residential architecture. This tour over at FreshHome takes us through a Belgian water tower converted by BAHM Design Studio.

I enjoyed seeing the kitchens that Dwell magazine dubbed their coolest ones from their archives. I love some of the ones like you see below, I imagined Unhappy Hipster captions for others. Either way, it’s a fun slideshow!

This guy, Andrew, the latest addition through the revolving door that is Jeff Lewis’s team  on Flipping Out, cracked  me up. Apparently he has a trust fund that only kicks in when he has a full time job, so he is a nervous wreck he’ll lose the most ridiculous job on earth. Jeff always sheds an employee or three each season, so the poor guy should be nervous.

Finally, I swear, Passive-Aggressive Notes is still one of the most genius sites I’ve read. What better passive-aggressive way is there to get back at a crazy note-leaver than to submit it to the site? This one about the deck blew my mind; it brings up the very serious issue of deck envy. If I received it, I think I’d have to move knowing I lived close to such a nut job.

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Wednesday, September 5th, 2012

Fun Book: The First Apartment

Becky

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A great new book hit the shelves this week – Kyle Schuneman’s The First Apartment: Cool Design For Small Spaces. Kyle has crossed the country helping folks who have spread their wings and flown the coop feather their first nests, or some such mixed bunch of metaphors that mean making their first apartments livable AND cool. This guy is full of clever tricks for all sorts of spaces and personality types, and he’s really good at explaining D.I.Y. projects – he’s included  projects that range from super-easy to more advanced, so there’s something for everyone.

In the somewhat more advanced D.I.Y. arena, he created an argyle wall for his chapter for the preppy. I suggest mastering a horizontal or vertical striped wall first, which is also covered in the book.

Also from the preppy files, Kyle teaches us how to transform a ho-hum dresser to a playful plaid piece with decorative paper and some Modge Podge.

For us less experienced D.I.Y.ers, he’s rolled out the chalkboard paint, but taken us from simply painting the wall (been there, done that!) to the fridge and the cabinets in this kitchen that he’s dubbed “Le Petite Bistro.” He took a shabby rental kitchen and gave it a crisp yet cozy European vibe with paint and some drapes.

Sometimes something as simple as a headboard wall decal and charming drawer pulls will add your personal style stamp to a room.

In this artist’s tiny apartment, Kyle went all Jack the Dripper on a canvas slipcover for the owner’s hand-me-down sofa. He also made the yellow no-sew pillow and the yarn frames, and instructions for all of the projects are included.

This book is a great to give as a housewarming gift, a graduation gift or holiday gift for someone looking to up their style ante but is unsure where to start. If you’re feeling uninspired, treat yourself to a copy. The book is currently under $15 at amazon.

All photos from The First Apartment Book, taken by Joe Schmelzer

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